Frequently Asked Questions
The term “family support program” describes an innovative model of service delivery that focuses on supporting the complex needs of families with young children in a number of ways. Such programs empower families to enable children’s healthy growth and development by enhancing strengths and capacities in individuals, families, and communities. Family support programs provide welcoming, community-based opportunities for families to voluntarily come together and exchange support. Family resource programs are driven by the community and flexibly respond to a range of unique family needs. Professionals partner with families and collaborate with local organizations. Programs reduce social isolation, support healthy child development and family well-being, and facilitate capacity-building and community development. Programs are typically offered at no cost to participants and may include: drop-in programs for children and their caregiver, parenting workshops, referrals to other services, and lending libraries.
Families and caregivers attend locally-based programs where they are welcomed and able to receive the type, level, and frequency of service needed at no or low cost. Through participation in these services, staff aim to strengthen parents’ competence, confidence, and well-being.
Family support programs are known by various titles, including Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYCs), Parent and Family Literacy Centres (PFLCs), Family Resource Programs (FRPs), Child-Parent Centres, and Better Beginnings, Better Futures programs. While some may be standalone programs, others may be part of larger, more traditional early learning and child care services, and others may be located in schools and operated by school boards. Regardless of auspice, however, all aim to provide resources, guidance, and support to families and caregivers with young children in the communities in which they live.
The purpose of the Government’s initiative is to recognize the importance of family resource programs within a broader system of early learning and child care services in Ontario, under the banner of EarlyON Child and Family Centres. As this happens, there will likely be some service shifts that will affect existing services. In the long run, FSIO believes this will have a positive effect, and families will have more equitable access to a consistent range of high services regardless of where they live.
In the interim, FSIO continues to advocate for the fair treatment of existing programs and staff.